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.223 brass for Nagant 7.62 another way

Suggested tools and materials:

.223 brass --Cheyenne brass one fired
Lee shell holder #4 -- Lee 90204
.30 Carbine reloading dies -- Lee 90626 Carbide
222 Rem. Factory Crimp -- Lee 90816
EZ-expander De-capping rod .308 -- Lee SE2169
Lee de-capping Die -- Lee 90292
# 4 press Shell holder (.223) -- Lee 90521
.223 Trimmer shell-holder -- Lee GH1276 – From Kit 90114
7.62x39 Trimmer -- Lee GH2008 – From Kit 90113
#19 Trimmer Shell holder -- Lee GH3327 – From Kit 90153
Case Conditioning Combo -- Lee 90950
.308 EZ expander de-capping rod -- Lee SE2169
Reloading press (mine’s a Lee Classic Turret 4 hole)
Disk sander (not necessary but it does help to speed things along) or Dremel
Case lube (ie: Imperial)
Mill file with smooth edges or Neck turner with a 17 cal pilot.
If you want to reload 7.62x38R Brass
Shell holder (7.62x38R) -- RCBS 57170-SH7.62RussNag

To form .223 / 5.56 x45 brass to 7.62x38R brass.

1. Use the de-capping die to remove the primer.

2. Clean the cases

3. Shorten .223 brass. After trying a number of ways, I found that the easiest way, and very fast, was to use my disc sander. It takes about 3 seconds per case using a no. 60 grit. No, the disk does not fill up with brass. Push the case into the sander disk, removing material to about half way down the shoulder (about 1.5”). This may seem a little short to you, but the case lengthens considerably as it is reformed. A Dremel with a reinforced cutting wheel is slower but cheaper.

4. Using a case chamfering or de-burring tool, remove the burrs.

5. Remove primer de-capping rod assembly from the .30 Carbine full length sizing die. Next insert the EZ expander .308 de-capping rod.

6. Set the case forming die to touch the shell holder with ram fully extended then back out ¼ turn.

7. Lube the case liberally and run it into the .30 Carbine die about 1/3 of the way. Do not force it beyond where it feels good and tight. Doing so is to assure that a stuck case will result. Take it from one who learned (several times) the hard way. Back the case out of die.

8. Re-lube case and ram to about 2/3 the way home. Same warning as in 4, above. Back the case out of die.

9. Re-lube case. This time you can run it all the way home. It will back out easily. Notice that at this point, the swaging process should be complete to .100” before the angle at the extractor groove of the case. It will look like a belted case. That is good. If not adjust the die as needed.

10. Three options for sizing down the remaining case.

>>>A. File the remaining bulge with a mill file with smooth edge. Use Lee trimmer base and shell holder chucked in drill. File carefully to .354” diameter (Not less than .350”, if less than throw out the case). This leaves about .034” - .038” wall thickness above the web. Don’t worry the .223 is a 55,000 psi case, the Nagant is 11,000 psi max. You may have to file the face of the drill trimmer, shell holder a little. Let the drill do the work again. Use the cylinder to check for fit. A few bucks for the file. It works but its slow

>>>B. Using a neck turner (Mine’s a Forster) with a 17 Cal pilot to use in the primer pocket. Using a carbide bit in the Dremel cut a slot in the base of the pilot to allow the .100” travel of the pilot. Trim the shell to .354 diameter (Not less than .350”, if less than throw out the case). Cost about $80.00 with shipping. I use a RCBS bullet puller with a 35 caliber collet, dilled to a depth of .970” with a cobalt drill to allow for the depth of the case. I made chuck in my drill with a 3/8”x16 – 2-1/2” bolt threaded to at least 1-5/8” and cut the head of the bolt.

>>>C. A third option is to get two, two step, base forming dies from RCBS at $161.95 each, plus shipping (a 10 week or more special order), Next a 3 ton arbor press about $200.00 plus shipping. Costing roughly $600.00 of tools and tooling for a $99.00 weapon. If you like to spend, it is the way to go. A metal lathe will work if you have one, or just want to spend more money.

10. Chuck case into your trimmer shell holder and set to reduce the case length to 1.52". Will need to file the 7.62x39 case length gauge at the bevel that touches the inside base of the shell. Also may need to file a little of the shaft of the gauge to fit in the end of the shell. Notice that the brass has lengthened significantly, as it steps through the swaging process. If it the shell was cut per instructions in step 2, only a few turns of the trimmer will be needed.

11. Again, de-burr inside and outside

12. Lube the bottom ½” of the base. Turn Sizing Die in ¾ of a turn, then full-length size in the die again.

13. Check the fit in your revolver. If you have followed all the steps it should fit fine, if not file or trim as needed.

It is possible that the case mouth will benefit from annealing to keep it from splitting but I chose to skip this process until I see need for it. I have annealed the original 7.62 brass because of the radical crimp applied to the factory rounds.

At this point, your brass is ready to load.....

Lee Classic Turret Setup

Note: To reload 7.62x38R brass use the 7.62x38R shell holder. Don’t forget to anneal the mouth of the brass.

1. Remove the EZ expander .308 de-capping rod, resize and prime the case. There is no need to change the die setting from the last of the case forming.

2. Set the Lee powder thru expanding die to expand the mouth to .312” (Care should be taken in feeding the cases into the dies, these are long cases with no neck and a small base. Trust me crushing the top of a case at this point will not make your day. Slow and steady)

3. Use 2.5 min to 3.5gr maximum of Trail boss with 70 to 115gr cast or brass plated bullets. (I use Berry’s hollow base 83gr brass plated wad cutters.) 750 to 1100 fps.

(Lee auto disk pro with double disk works great. A .46 on bottom and a .30 on top tapped three times to settle, then tapped twice with ram fully up, gives me consistent 3.3gr {.57 tapped for 2.5gr}. Trail boss is a very bulky and light powder. Needed for the long case and low pressure (11,000 psi max).

4. Set the seating die up per lee instructions, then do the following.

>>>A. Turn the bullet seating plug to .296” for ½” – Chuck in drill and file carefully and chamfer end.

>>>B. Cut a .250” piece of 5/16 rod or bolt.

>>>C. Put the seating plug in with the turned end down, add the rod piece and put the seating cap on.

>>>D. Set to insert the bullet to .020” below the top of the case.

5. Set the 222 Remington Crimp die to crimp the mouth to about .048” from the mouth which should leave an inside diameter of about .290” at the mouth. You may have to trim the base of the crimp die a little.

6. Lightly lube top half of case then, resize the case again about half way to remove any bulge created in the deep seating of the bullet.

7. Do not fully cycle the ram down so you can put in the next case to be sized and re-primed.

You are ready to go shooting.

· Registered
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Have compared to Prvi rounds. Recoil at 2.5 gr is about the same as prvi. FPS is about the same also. At 3.5 gr just a little more recoil and about what original Russian ammo had for FPS. Also I slugged the barrel and it is .311. Have fired several hundred rounds w/o a problem. I am on disability and have much more time than money.
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